There is definitely something to be said about blogging and tweeting and flailing in this beautiful and wonderful interweb. It’s how we find some of our most favorite things – for me, it’s how I found The Great Britsh Bake Off (See my post on why this show is basically the best thing you’ve ever seen, ever). The idea for Signature Dish Saturday is that we’ll be sharing some of our favorite signature recipes with each other – something that we think represents us, or the one thing that we can make really well so it basically represents us because we can’t make anything else!
(If you’re interested in sharing your signature recipe, click here!)
So, in theory, this is about sharing one recipe – but today I’m going to be talking about something that I found last year and that has seriously changed my life. As some of you know, I started a pretty huge life change in March of 2016. I downloaded a Calorie Counting app called “Lose It!” (which I definitely recommend, btw!) and set my weight loss goal – resulting in a goal of no more than 1324 calories a day for about the next 6-7 months.
It was really important to me that I did this in a healthy way; trying to control my carbs, fat, sugar, sodium, cholesterol, fiber while also trying to regulate my meals (maybe don’t starve myself for 13 hours and then eat everything from Taco Bell, maybe?). In the beginning I did this by basically eating the same things every day – I knew what to shop for, I knew what to bake/cook/prepare, and it was easy to put in my app.
As time went on and I got the hang of the calorie counting, I really wanted more options for dinner than Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones – and that’s where Wildtree came in and saved the day. This all fit so perfectly into what I was trying to do – the food was easy to prepare, healthy, and came with complete nutritional facts!
So let’s talk Wildtree!
One of my co-workers told me about Wildtree a year or two ago, but I didn’t really jump on the bandwagon until late last year. Since then I’ve attended three freezer meal workshops (one of which I hosted, and I’ll be hosting another in February), and my cabinet is starting to overflow with Wildtree spices, seasonings, and sauces.
So what’s it all about, anyways? Strictly speaking, Wildtree is a direct sales company that offers organic culinary products to be enjoyed at home – with no artificial colors, no added MSG, no GMO ingredients, and gluten free and kosher options.
There are a number of different ways to use the products:
1. Make Ahead Freezer Meals
2. Make Fresh Recipes
3. Make Fast Kits
Today, I’ll be talking about the thing that’s changed my life – Freezer Meals!!
Here’s the short of how it works:
If you do the Freezer Meal Workshops with a group of friends, then one of you will be “hosting” (meaning the party takes place at your home). You’ll get a Facebook event set up, and you’ll let your guests know which three options you’re offering. Here are three of the options that I offered at the first event that I hosted last November (since then, I’ve tried both Everyday Meals and Family Favorites – definitely recommend both!!) Each of the kits come with enough products to make 10 freezer meals (that feed 6-8 people – so if you have a family of 2-4, you can split them into two smaller meals, meaning you get TWENTY freezer meals!)
So I know by now you’re probably thinking, “Ok this is all well and good, but what’s it going to cost me?”
Essentially it boils down to this:
The kits themselves cost $78.00.
(you’ll get enough to make the meals, but you’ll also have some leftover product for other meals)
The groceries that you’ll use for the meals typically comes out to about $80-$120.
(this depends on where/how you shop and which option you pick (something with a lot of steak will cost more, for example.))
Look at it this way:
10 meals for a grand total of $200 = $20 a meal
(most serve 8 people)
$20 meal for 8 people = $2.50 a person!
(Also, important to note that you don’t have to get involved in all of the parties and get 5 people to come over to your house to do all of this with you, although that’s the process I explained above. You can also just order the products to come to your house and do this all yourself! Shopping/preparing for the whole shebang takes about 3-5 hours … that’s 3-5 hours in one day that will prepare 10-20 meals for you and your family throughout the month!)
So what happens after you order? How do you prep for all of this?
You’ll get a shopping list and pre-workshop prep sheet sent to you via email, and they’ll look like the pictures below. Here’s one of the best parts about this whole thing, though – see how it says celery down there under produce? Well, the beau and I don’t really do celery. So what do I do? I just don’t buy it! Okay, it’s also calling for 3 red peppers and 3 yellow onions … eek. Those also aren’t really my jam. So I just buy one red pepper, to split between all of the recipes that call for it – and a bag of frozen diced onions to just use a few tablespoons at a time to get the flavor. These are totally your meals, and you can make them work for you and your family.
The pre-workshop prep tells you everything you’ll need to put in the individual bag(s) before you add the Wildtree spices/sauces/seasonings. (Very important note: if you’re making 20 meals, all of these things will get split in half – so for #3, The Best Burgers Ever, I set up two bags that each had 1 pound lean ground beef.)
If you’re attending a party, you would want to do the shopping and prep a day or two before – then all of the bags go in the fridge, where you’ll eventually throw them in a cooler and bring them over to your friend’s house. If you’re doing this at your home, you can go just go straight to the next step!
Ok, but what is the next step?
This is the part where it gets really, really, super, cool. I LOVE how organized and simple and aesthetically pleasing this company’s products are, and how simple they make everything for you. The initial freezer meal bundle workshop you purchased will come to your house, and it’ll look a little something like this (depending on which bundle you got and which products come with it!)
So you take this nifty little box, and you stare at all the pretty containers and how beautiful the paperwork they sent you is (and if you’re like me, you immediately put all of the paperwork into page protecters and then snugly into the 1″ binder you purchased solely for this purpose…).
Who’s the neurotic one? It’s surely not me!!
Anywhoooooo, back to the food. The next thing you do is use the Workstation Recipes (picture below!) to finish the process. The bold items are the Wildtree products you got in your bundle; the non-bold are the items you’ve already put in the bags. (Remember, if you’re making 20 meals, divide the amounts by 2! For the Jambalaya, you’d use 2 teaspoons Chicken Bouillon, 1 tablespoon Cajun Seasoning, and 1/2 tablespoon Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil.)
Because it’s just me and the beau, I make twenty meals – which means that when I start the Workstation Recipes, I’ve got twenty gallon sized freezer bags with the stuff from my Pre-Workshop Prep all set up (the two bags for each meal are then put into a third gallon sized bag, so that everything is all neat and organized by meal!).
Okay, so now you’re done! You’ve got 10-20 meals planned for you and your family for the next month! It cost you about $200 and 3-5 hours of just one day. Hopefully you’ll find it as worth it as I have!!!
Super important to note that when all this started the beau thought I was getting involved in a pyramid scheme, because if you’re hosting and people come to the party and/or buy more products than you get “rewards” … but two things happened: one, he realized this is totally not a pyramid scheme, and two, he is totally in love with 90% of the meals we’ve tried!
(And the ones that he doesn’t like, I have liked – so it’s 100% worth it for us!)
(Last last note – there are some bundles that have vegetarian options – I have a friend that tried the Everyday Meals bundle with the Vegetarian Options and she loved it! The grocery list is catered to vegetarian foods, although the recipes cards themselves will not change.)
^^ My freezer full of Wildtree freezer meals!!! ^^
Because this is already the longest post in the history of the posts that I’ve posted, I’m going to call it a day here – but I am going to throw some extra pics of the awesomeness and ease of use that is these products/this system down below, so if you’re interested, keep scrolling!
Also, if this sounds like something you would be totally interested in or would make your life easier – like I mentioned before, I’m “hosting” one of the parties in February! (The bundles themselves would be purchased in late January, and since none of you live close enough to attend the party in person *sobbing forever*, you could do the shopping and prep at your own schedule as soon as the bundle arrives to your home!)
If you are in any way interested in that, feel free to email me at bringmybooks(at)gmail.com – and as much as this sounds like a totally shameless plug just to get extra rewards for myself (and it kind-of is), I totally believe in these products and how delicious they are and how easy it is to make this work for you and your family!
&&now for the other pictures I promised you!
The following two pictures represent what you get in your package of paperwork – full recipes that show what it is in your freezer bag, what (if anything) you’ll need at the time of cooking, how long the item takes to make/how many people it serves (top right hand corner), total directions for how to make the recipe, and all the nutritional information!
*Notes: If you’ve split it into two meals, then each freezer bag serves half of whatever the servings is – and the nutritional value is for one serving, so if it serves 6 people then the nutritional value is for one burger. (And watch the cooking times – they can sometimes be shorter if you’ve split the meals!)
And last, but certainly not least, these AWESOME FREEZER INVENTORIES! I’ve cut this picture down considerably, so you cant’ see the whole image of this sheet or the other two that I have – but it gives you the basic idea. I put these up on the side of my fridge in sheet protectors and use a dry erase marker to show what I still have in the freezer. So I can just look up and go, “Okay, we’ve finished off all of the Southwestern Chicken Casserole, but we still have the Memphis Pulled Pork and two of the Tuscan Spaghetti & Meatballs!”
Even better, it shows you how you cook it, how long it’s going to take, and what you’ll need at cooking time. So you can pull out two-three meals on Sunday, see what (if any) additional items you’ll need, and just hit the store real quick. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
(Oh my goodness, if you’ve gotten this far, THANK YOU FOR READING. Ha! I hope that you found it interesting, and if you want to go about finding a representative that can help you get something set up around your area, send me an email and I’ll see if I can put you into contact with someone! I’ve loved working with my local rep, and I can’t imagine any of the ladies employed by this company would be any different!)
(Also also also, finally, in conclusion, a huge thank you to my co-worker Emily for letting me use all of her images to show you some of the Wildtree meals she’s made in the past!)